Updated: Apr 26
Djinn’s note: Thom Poore. Who is Thom Poore? He’s an incredible writer and an incredible friend, so laid back that if you took him to a meditation centre, next to him they’d appear to be suffering from anxiety. With published books (which the links will be posted here soon) I have asked Thom to bless my blog with a write up on a topic we are both very passionate about. Here’s a brief thought of his.
80s Music... 80s Music...
29 years after the decade’s final day, clubs have '80s nights, digital TV has a host of 80’s Music channels, and the radio is full of tunes by Madonna, Wham and Prince. And the Movies, don't get me started on the Movies. If there is a better cast film than Back To The Future then I'm yet to see it. Pure capturing lightening in a bottle stuff. Why do the music and movies of that era have so much longevity. Let's look at the music first.
The beginning of the 80’s was an austere time. Visions of Duran Duran in Miami Vice suits dancing on yachts in the Bahamas seemed unobtainable. But as the 80’s wore on the economy started to boom, bringing newfound wealth, hope and inspiration to the middle classes. Musicians of the 80s seemed to experiment with all genres of music, instead of sticking to the tried and tested formulas of bands from the past. Most of the artists within bands could really play. Artists rejected by record labels were told they simply weren’t good enough. These days anybody with a PC and an internet connection can put out a catalogue of music, with varying unjudged results. Fantastic for talented innovators but detrimental to the overall quality of content put out to the public, who have to navigate a sea of sub-par sludge.
While today’s music is entertaining and I believe a real music fan will find something they like in an era, I have no doubt that '80s music is still able to slap the publics cheeks to attention more than any other decade before or since. Whether it's listening to Prince’s “1999,” Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ On A Prayer,” Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger” or Bonnie Tylers “Total Eclipse Of The Heart” the end result is that you’ll always be dancing around your living room with your earphones on full blast mouthing, 'why can't they make music like this anymore'.
Ok, let's look at the Movies of the era. My word, I feel like a kid in a John Candy shop looking at a plethora of mouth watering classics. The 80s owns the action comedy (Ghostbusters, Beverly Hills Cop, Indiana Jones), the romantic comedy (When Harry Met Sally …, Say Anything), the teen movie (The Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Dirty Dancing, Heathers), the time travel movie (Back to the Future, Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure), the Christmas movie (Die Hard, Scrooged, Gremlins, Christmas Vacation), the odd-couple movie (Lethal Weapon, Trading Places, Midnight Run), the fish out of water movie (ET, The Terminator, Coming to America), the John Candy movies (Planes, Trains and Automobiles, Uncle Buck), the Cher movies (Moonstruck, Mask), films about childhood (Hope and Glory, Stand By Me, Big), the superhero movie (Batman), the women’s weepies (Steel Magnolias, Terms of Endearment), the unacknowledged homoerotic movies (Top Gun, Three Men and a Baby), the musical montages (Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Flash dance), the brilliantly scary (Aliens) ... You could literally write ten more lists with an equal amount of quality. So why do 80s Movies endure?
One ingredient of a great movie is its watch- ability. A movie may be enjoyable, but if it leaves you without the desire to watch it again, then it has automatically fallen into a strange void of mediocrity. How many times have you re watched any of the 80s movies listed above.. Exactly. Movies at present seem counter-creative and uninspiring. Remake upon uninteresting politically correct remake are spewed upon us. Sequels are the only safe bets, franchises seem to turn their backs on the very fans that put them there in the first place. Can you imagine a movie about three college scientists trying to start a company to rid New York of ghosts with backpacks being green lit with a gigantic budget today.
One of the reasons that 80s Movies endure for me is the limitations placed on special effects at the time. In the 80s ILM (Industrial Light and Magic) was one of the only special effects companies in the world, set up by director/writer George Lucas (Star Wars, Indiana Jones). In those days the story had to come first. The idea, concept, screenplay and characters would have come first, the special effects were the icing on the cake binding the entire project together. And not only that but the effects were not all computer generated (CGI). They had to use practical effects, puppets, stages, real fires and floods, everything on screen was real. And the limitations of the effects of the time would help conjure new ideas which lead to more interesting and innovative story telling. Now it seems the effects come first and the dumbed down clichéd screenplays come second.
The franchises of the era feel timeless, yes there was a dip in quality with some of the sequels but the genesis or best of the installments were from the 80s, Indiana Jones, Predator, Die Hard, Aliens, Terminator. Will the movies of today be remembered as fondly in a further 30 years? We'll have to wait and see.